The Obama administration gave conditional approval on Monday to health insurance marketplaces being set up by six states led by Democratic governors eager to carry out President Obama’s health care overhaul. The six are Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington.
OK, these states are now my favorites as the best in the U.S. They actually care about their citizens.
By the way, I’ve only lived in one of them but have had happy moments in each of them. I encourage everyone to visit and enjoy and also to stay away from states that are dragging their feet or not willing to participate in increased access to health care for all.
Four Days Later, Florida Declares For Obama
This is a good day.
Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey’s office confirmed Monday it had launched a criminal investigation of Secretary of State Scott Gessler on the same afternoon the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission voted to begin an investigation into whether Gessler violated the law by using state funds to attend a partisan event.
In August, Gessler attended a Republican National Lawyers Association meeting in Sarasota, Fla., and then traveled to the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
Gessler was reimbursed $1,452 from his office’s discretionary account for the trip, which was submitted to his office as “RNLA/RNC Trip.” His office also paid $422 out of its regular budget for a flight change to bring him home a day early, something he said was needed because of threats against his family.
Gessler, who has been criticized for how he has used his discretionary fund, also sought and received $1,400 from the fund in July 2011 at the end of the 2010-11 fiscal year. The request, for which Gessler submitted no receipts, drained what was left in the fund that year.
With 10 days left until the election, Obama holds leads in almost every swing state. Including the king-maker state, Ohio.
In the past 50 years, no candidate has lost Ohio and still went on to win the election.
Also, if Obama wins Ohio, which is likely given the current polling, Romney would have to sweep Florida, Iowa, Virginia, New Hampshire, AND Colorado just to tie the president.
Rick Perry’s Thoughts on Mitt Romney
Rick Perry is coming to Colorado to talk about MItt Romney. What has he said about Romney in the past?
Hours ahead of the presidential debate on Monday, millions of voters across the country will have the chance to cast their ballots when early voting opens in Arkansas, Colorado, Texas, Wisconsin, Alaska and the District of Columbia. Nevada began early voting on Saturday, a day after Washington state, bringing the early voting total to 29 states and the District of Columbia.
For too many Americans, voting rights have been hard won. Take advantage of those rights, and don’t let anyone take them away.
Karl Rove is upping the ante. According to Politico, the Rove-founded American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS are launching their biggest paid-media push of the election cycle Tuesday, with a $16 million one-week buy on TV and radio in multiple presidential swing states and Senate battlegrounds.
Of that $16 million, the super PAC American Crossroads will devote $11 million to defeating President Barack Obama, with a TV spot titled “Actually Happened” that compares the current 8.1 unemployment rate to a lower rate that the president projected earlier in his term. Viewers will see the ad in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia.
Crossroads GPS, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, will spend $1 million on radio ads in those same states and an additional $4 million in Montana, North Dakota and Virginia.
We can’t beat their money so we have to beat them with boots on the ground. Have you volunteered?
The number of Florida counties reporting suspicious voter registration forms connected to Strategic Allied Consulting, the firm hired by the state Republican Party to sign up new voters, has grown to 10, officials said, as local election supervisors continue to search their forms for questionable signatures, addresses or other identifiers.
After reports of suspicious forms surfaced in Florida, the company — owned by Nathan Sproul, who has been involved in voter registration efforts since at least the 2004 presidential election — was fired last week by the state Republican Party and the Republican National Committee. The party had hired it to conduct drives in Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina and Virginia.
In Colorado, a young woman employed by Strategic Allied was shown on a video outside a store in Colorado Springs recently telling a potential voter that she wanted to register only Republicans and that she worked for the county clerk’s office. The woman was fired, said Ryan Call, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.
Tom Cronin, political scientist and instructor at Colorado College, on get out the vote efforts on the Colorado Springs campus. Scott Gessler (R) presides over voting procedures in the state and, after leading attempts to suppress voter turnout, is the subject of a watch page dedicated to checking his political career.
Gessler’s story raised a question in The Washington Post last week: “whether partisan politicians can be evenhanded in overseeing elections.”
The Republican National Committee on Thursday fired a firm it had hired to register voters in several battleground states after allegations of voter registration fraud.
Strategic Allied Consulting was first fired in Florida after the Palm Beach County election supervisor flagged more than 100 applications turned in by the company that staff noticed had similar looking signatures and wrong birth dates.
The national committee followed suit and instructed remaining state parties with contracts to also fire the company.
It had been registering voters in Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, Nevada and Virginia. The Republican Party had paid the Virginia-based Strategic Allied Consulting $2.9 million this year, according to federal election records.
More detailed background on this in the article I posted earlier here.
A software glitch on the Colorado Secretary of State’s mobile-optimized website prevented nearly 800 people using tablets and mobile phones from registering to vote.
Secretary of State Scott Gessler said the problem occurred between Sept. 14 and Monday because of a software update to the site. The update indavertently caused a problem that prevented 779 people from registering, said Gessler, a Republican.
"Frankly, our office did not engage in enough user testing before we rolled out a software fix," he said, placing the blame squarely on his office.
The office now has fixed the problem, having discovered it Monday, but it doesn’t know who the people are who tried to register. That’s why Gessler is asking people who think they registered during the days in question to check their registrations at govotecolorado.com
The Republican Party of Florida’s top recipient of 2012 expenditures, a firm by the name of Strategic Allied Consulting, was just fired on Tuesday night, after more than 100 apparently fraudulent voter registration forms were discovered to have been turned in by the group to the Palm Beach County, FL Supervisor of Elections.
The firm appears to be another shell company of Nathan Sproul, a longtime, notorious Republican operative, hired year after year by GOP Presidential campaigns, despite being accused of shredding Democratic voter registration forms in a number of states over several past elections.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Strategic Allied Consulting has been paid some $667,000 this year by the FL GOP, presumably to run its voter registration campaigns in the state. That number, however, does not account for another identical payment made in August. The Palm Beach Post is reporting tonight that the firm received “more than $1.3 million” from the Republican Party of Florida “to register new voters.”
The firm is not only tied to the FL GOP, but also to the Mitt Romney Campaign, which hired Sproul as a political consultant late last year, despite years of fraud allegations against his organizations in multiple states.
Moreover, the firm is also reportedly operating similar voter registration operations on behalf of the Republican Party, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, in a number of key battleground states this year, including North Carolina, Virginia and Colorado. Strategic Allied has recently taken steps to hide their ownership by Sproul’s notorious firm, Sproul & Associates.
Palm Beach County Supervisor of Election Susan Bucher confirmed to The BRAD BLOG late this evening that she turned over 106 suspicious voter registration applications to the Florida State Attorney during a meeting yesterday afternoon in Palm Beach, after the “questionable” applications were submitted to her office by a worker for Strategic Allied.
The forms were said to all have similar signatures, changed addresses and party affiliations, and other defects which appear to have all been done by the same hand.
The case emerging in Florida tonight mirrors a similar incident reported earlier this year when more than a thousand fraudulent voter registration forms were discovered to have been turned in to the Sacramento County, CA Registrar of Voters by a group hired by that state’s Republican Party.
The Post reports that “The 106 applications flagged by Bucher were part of a batch of 304 turned in Sept. 5 by the contractor, using the Republican Party of Florida’s identification number.”
As of tonight, the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) says they have fired the firm, which they claim they had hired at the request of the Republican National Party.
Strategic Allied Consulting, which has only a single-page, generic website (including typos, as seen above) has been advertising for paid registration workers on “Craigslist, Monster Jobs, Jobs Indeed, Conservative Jobs, etc.,” according to a source who has been researching them over the past several days.
Late last month, Greg Flynn at the North Carolina blog BlueNC reported on some of their job listings seeking workers in that swing-state, which Obama narrowly won in 2008, offering to pay anywhere from $11 to $13 per hour.
"WANT TO HELP REPUBLICANS WIN IN NC?," reads one ad, "We are currently hiring self-motivated people to contact voters for the election. No experience needed! We are paying $13/per hour for this program."
Curiously, that’s exactly what is seen in a rather breathtaking viral video we reported on this morning revealing a young voter registration worker in Colorado Springs, CO (El Paso County), asking a potential registrant, “Would you vote for Romney or Obama?” before she would offer a voter registration form. While the worker, when pressed, reluctantly admitted, “we’re out here in support of Romney,” she then claimed to be working for the El Paso County Clerk’s office.
In fact, as we reported, the El Paso County Republican Party Chairman has since admitted the young lady was working for the party. Following publication of our story, we were informed by a tipster that the young lady was actually hired by a third-party contractor, though we have not yet been able to either confirm that point, or identify the name of the contractor.
BlueNC reports, however, that, in addition to FEC campaign filings showing the NC Republican Party paid some $333,000 to Strategic Allied Consulting for services in that state in July, “There is evidence that similar operations are being conducted in Colorado, Florida and Virginia on behalf of the Republican Party.”
We’ve reported on Sproul many times over the years, as the GOP operative, and former chair of the Arizona GOP and the state’s Christian Coalition, pops up again and again in each Presidential Election year. He is hired over and over by the Republican Party, despite years of fraud allegations in multiple states against his organizations, which are said to have routinely changed or entirely destroyed Democratic voter registrations.
He operates as Sproul & Associates as well as Lincoln Strategy Group, among other names, including now, apparently, Strategic Allied Consulting.
And this year, after being hired by the Bush/Cheney campaign in ‘04 and the McCain/Palin campaign in ‘08, Sproul was “quietly” hired by the Romney campaign as a political consultant late last year, according to a June report from Lee Fang at the non-partisan Republic Report:Late last year, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign began paying Nathan Sproul, a political consultant with a long history of destroying Democratic voter registration forms and manipulating ballot initiatives. Sproul, who changed his firm’s name from Sproul and Associates to Lincoln Strategies, has received over $70,000 from Romney’s campaign
Republic Report reviewed disclosures from the Federal Elections Commission. Sproul’s Lincoln Strategy Group has received about $71,391 in payments for “field consulting” and “rent & utilities” by the Romney for President Inc. committee from November 30th through March 2nd of this year.
Fang then goes on to highlight what he describes as some of Sproul’s “greatest hits” asdetailed by ThinkProgress while reporting on Sproul’s Lincoln Strategies astroturf work for a so-called “Clean Coal” industry campaign in 2009 [emphasis in original]:- In Oregon and Nevada, Lincoln Strategies - then known as Sproul and Associates - was investigated for destroying Democratic voter registration forms. The Bush-Cheney 2004 presidential campaign paid Sproul $7.4 million for campaign work. [CNN, 10/14/04; KGW News, 10/13/04; East Valley Tribune, 09/07/06]
- In Nevada, people who registered as Democrats with Lincoln Strategies - then known as Sproul and Associates - found their names absent from the voter registration rolls. [Reno Gazette-Journal, 10/29/04]
- During the 2006 midterm elections, Wal-Mart banned Lincoln Strategies for partisan voter registration efforts in Tennessee. The Republican National Committee had hired the firm. [Associated Press, 08/24/06]
- In Arizona, Lincoln Strategies employed a variety of deceptive tactics - including systematically lying about the bill - to push a ballot initiative to eviscerate the state’s clean elections law. [Salon, 10/21/04]
- Lincoln Strategies, then employed by the Republican Party, was behind efforts to place Ralph Nader on the ballot in states such as Arizona. [American Prospect, 06/25/04]
Despite all of those years of allegations, the McCain campaign went on to hire Sproul in 2008, according to Sam Stein at Huffington Post, who reported at the time:John McCain’s campaign has directed $175,000 to the firm of a Republican operative accused of massive voter registration fraud in several states.
According to campaign finance records, a joint committee of the McCain-Palin campaign, the RNC and the California Republican Party, made a $175,000 payment to the group Lincoln Strategy in June for purposes of “registering voters.” The managing partner of that firm is Nathan Sproul, a renowned GOP operative who has been investigated on multiple occasions for suppressing Democratic voter turnout, throwing away registration forms and even spearheading efforts to get Ralph Nader on ballots to hinder the Democratic ticket.
That Sproul would come under the employment umbrella of the McCain campaign —- the Republican National Committee has also separately paid Lincoln Strategy at least $37,000 for voter registration efforts this cycle —- is not terribly surprising. Sproul, who has donated nearly $30,000 to McCain’s campaign, has been in the good graces of GOP officials for the past decade despite charges of ethical and potentially legal wrongdoing.
In Fang’s report, he goes on to note that “Even former Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT), during a hearing on voter fraud, admitted that ‘the difference between ACORN and Sproul is that ACORN doesn’t throw away or change registration documents after they have been filled out.’”
Moreover, it should be noted that of the handful of ACORN registration workers who submitted fraudulent applications over the years, almost all of those workers were turned into officials by ACORN themselves. The group checked all applications for validity before turning them in, flagged those which appeared to be fraudulent, and then turned them in to officials, along with the names of the workers who had defrauded them.
Contrast that with the disturbing activities of Sproul & Associates, Lincoln Strategies and now Sproul’s Strategic Allied Consulting, along with what was admitted to by the Republican Party today in Colorado, and revealed by a number of recent cases of massive registration fraud by the Republican Party in California. (For the record, ACORN was never hired to do registration work by the Democratic Party, despite inaccurate Republican claims to the contrary.)
In 2006, GOP voter registration firms in California were reported by the LA Times to have turned in thousands of invalid registration forms, as well as fraudulent signatures on petitions in San Bernardino County. In once instance, “About 4,800 of more than 5,600 signatures submitted [by John Burkett Petition Management] were found to be invalid and were tossed out by election officials,” the paper reported.
In 2008, at the height of that year’s GOP/Fox “News” ACORN “voter fraud” scam, a group calling itself Young Political Majors (YPM) was hired by the CA Republican Party to do voter registration. The firm was reportedly paid $7 to $12 for every Californian it registered as a member of the GOP. YPM was subsequently found to have been changing thousands of voter registration forms from Democratic to Republican. The group’s CEO, Mark Anthony Jacoby, was eventually arrested (see video of my appearance announcing the news on Fox in a live “Fox News Alert” that year) before he later pleaded guilty to voter registration fraud.
And, earlier this year, in 2012, the Sacramento Republican Party was found to have hired Momentum Political Services, a firm headed up by a woman described as a "professional con-artist". The group allegedly turned in thousands of fraudulent voter registrations as part of a $50,000 bounty scheme seeking Republican registrations, as paid for by the GOP in the district of Republican Congressman Dan Lungren.
All the while, Republicans were loudly accusing Democrats of committing “voter fraud” requiring polling place Photo ID restrictions to stop it, even though there are just 10 known cases of in-person impersonation —- the only type of voter fraud that can possibly be deterred by Photo ID —- out of hundreds of millions of votes cast in all 50 states since 2000, according to a recent exhaustive report by the non-partisan investigative news consortium, News21.
As to actual voter fraud, it’s Republicans —- and very high profile ones at that, including Mitt Romney himself —- who are winning that contest as well. See our recent report detailing 10+ recent cases of voter fraud and other related election fraud crimes by very high profile Republicans right here.
Chimney Rock in Colorado made national monument
NBC News: The Obama administration, joined by Republicans, announced on Friday the creation of the Chimney Rock National Monument.
As a national monument, 4,726 acres of desert land near Chimney Rock will be protected. The area is sacred and spiritually significant for the Pueblo Indians and other tribes who made the monument their home 1,000 years ago.
Photo: Chimney Rock in southwest Colorado on Friday became the 103rd national monument. (National Trust for Historic Preservation via NBCNews.com)